Food is one of the most important part of our culture. At least in my childhood home it was. Be it at the Christmas table, cooking for a birthday or planning a wedding - food is the one thing that brings people together. Being raised eating a standard Nordic diet I too thought that milk is the primary source of calcium and meat the only source of protein. Thereby I didn't pay much attention to where my food came from nor did I want to know. Life without animal products seemed impossible. Little did I know that I - a potatoes and pork kind of girl - would one day turn vegan. But does that mean I have to give up a part of my identity as well?
The hardest part of going vegan is not cutting out the meat and dairy - it's the social eating. It's the realisation that the point of food isn't to comfort you, solve your problems, or keep the family together. Food is there just to fuel your body. Allow me to explain. Of course it's great to celebrate social occasions with great foods but the importance of food shouldn't outweigh the occasion. Our food choices should be personal because I alone bear the responsibility for my health and well-being. Sadly - it's not the case where I live.
Many people give up being vegan in the fears of becoming an outcast and justify their every bite and choice to their friends and family. It's kind of ironic that there are thousands of families all around us eating high calorie highly processed fast foods suffering malnutrition and no one blinks an eye. Countless overweight babies whose parents consider French fries to be vegetables - yet vegan parents are the ones endangering their children’s lives in the viewpoint of our society.
But being a relatively new vegan I can totally understand the conflict in admitting the injustice we do to the animals, our health, and the planet. Because admitting it means to live with the knowledge - and not everybody is ready to bear the burden. Denial is always the easiest way out and as they say: offence is the the best defence. That in my opinion is the saddest part. Being an outcast of the society is somewhat bearable, but being at odds with your friends and family over your food choices seems ridiculous.
Luckily our families accept our choices more and more as each week goes by. But I truly sympathise with those who aren't so fortunate. This past year as a full vegan I have learned that hate creates more hate, and although it is important to be passionate about veganism, the best way to spread the word is to be a good example yourself. You have to feel love and compassion for all living beings. Including the people who aren't there yet on their journey. And let's be realistic - some of us will never be. As I said above, food choices are rarely personal. Usually they're made in extension by our families, culture, and society. So it's completely understandable why it's so hard for some people to accept veganism - especially the older generations. There are not many people who are willing to admit that their whole lifestyle is based on lies.
I decided to share our story to help create awareness about veganism and spread the love that comes with choosing such an abundant lifestyle. By sharing our Life Based Foods - recipes that help you live your life to the fullest without compromising anyone else's - I hope to inspire others and help people understand that being vegan doesn't automatically mean you have to lose a part of your cultural identity. Vegan food can also be traditional, tasty, and satisfying. But most definitely it will be a base for a healthy and abundant lifestyle.